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Vegan Budae Jjigae aka Korean Army Stew

This Budae Jjigae is made of lots of fresh vegetables, tofu, kimchi, noodles, vegan cheese,  and ALL IN ONE POT. It is one of my all time fave winter comfort meals and it's so warming, flavorful, satisfying, and nourishing. Also totally beginner friend because it requires basically no cooking skills at all! Anyone can make this recipe and it'll always be delicious, trust me.

Budae Jjigae is a very popular Korean dish and one famed member of the big Korean stew family - other members include Kimchi Jjigae, Sundubu-jjigae (soft tofu stew), and more. Budae Jjigae literally means army stew, and as its name indicates it was created during wartime using mostly scrounged or smuggled foods from U.S. military bases, which explains why the traditional budae jjigae contains so many ingredients that are not necessarily native to Korea like sausage, spam, hot dog, American cheese, baked beans, etc.

Luckily, most of us are now living in peacetime and I really don't think there's any need to continue to eat heavily salted and preserved dead animals who have been sitting in a can in a truck, then on a shelf for months and months. However, that does not mean we can't continue to love the dishes we liked in the past and recreate those comforting and warming flavors.

Before you start, I'd recommend you use a good quality thick pot for this recipe, because a good thick pot will keep the stew and warm for much longer as you serve and eat. I used a Japanese donabe, or claypot for this, you can use whatever thick pot you have or even a small dutch oven.

See the video for an easy visual guide and refer to the measurements in the written recipe below. This pot can serve two but I have to be honest, I pretty much fished it all by myself lol so if you're cooking for more people, multiply the amount! And if you try this recipe please tag me on Instagram and Tiktok ^^


INGREDIENTS:

1/2 head of napa cabbage

1 small sweet onion

1 large carrot

2-3 large scallion or green onion

6 oz firm tofu

1/2 cup kinchi

1 serving of noodles, I used instant ramen

1 slice vegan American cheese


For the Stock -

3 dried shiitake mushroom

3 x 4 inch piece of kombu

1 cup hot water

2 cup vegetablestock


For the Seasoning Paste -

1/2 tablespoon gochujang

1 tablespoon gochugaru

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon of the stock


TO MAKE:

- First, we make the stock. Put the dried shiitake and kombu in a sauce pot, pour the hot water on top of them, stir, add in the vegetable stock;

- Cover with lid and transfer onto a stove, bring to a boil, then remove the lid and lower the heat, and let it simmer and cook for 25 minutes, monitor it so it doesn't boil over;

- Use a good quality thick pot, thinly slice the onion, add them to the pot as the bottom layer;

- Cut the napa cabbage into halves, or quarters, depending on the size, then cut lengthwise to fit into your pot vertically;

- Slice the tofu, scallions, and carrot, also add to the pot;

- When the stock is ready, take out the shiitake mushrooms, slice and add to the pot, save the kombu for a seaweed salad!

- Add the kimchi in the middle of the pot;

- In a separate dish, mix all the seasoning paste ingredients, use the stock you just made, and make sure the gochujang dissolves completely;

- Add the seasoning paste on top of all the ingredients in the middle of the pot;

- Add 2 cup of the stock, adjust the liquid amount based on the size of your pot, you want the stock to just barely cover the ingredients, not completely submerged;

- Cover with lid, transfer onto the stove and cook over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, lower the heat, give the seasoning paste in the middle a quick stir, then let the pot simmer and cook for 15 minutes;

- Add the noodles and the slice of cheese on top, cover and cook for another 3 minutes or until the noodles reach your preferred softness and the cheese is melted;

- Serve hot, enjoy!


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